Author: Jessica Mabuza

Jessica aims to be first to bring the news on industry updates, while her finance background informs her insights on how broader economic trends affect the jewellery trade

According to a report from Reuters, The United States is currently re-evaluating the stringent aspects of a Group of Seven (G7) ban on Russian diamonds, following significant resistance from African countries, Indian gem polishers, and jewelers in New York. This reconsideration comes after the December sanctions package aimed at reducing a revenue stream for Russia amidst its ongoing conflict with Ukraine. Background and Industry Impact Since March, diamond importers to G7 countries have been required to self-certify that their diamonds do not originate from Russia, the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds. Direct imports of Russian gems were banned earlier…

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Richemont has announced the appointment of Nicolas Bos as the new Chief Executive Officer, effective 1 June 2024.  Mr Bos, who is currently the CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels, will assume a re-established role, reporting to Johann Rupert, Chairman of Richemont.  In his new position, Mr Bos will oversee all Maisons, functions, and regions within the group, including key areas such as Jewellery Maisons, Finance, and Human Resources. Johann Rupert, Chairman of Richemont, commented on the appointment: “I am truly delighted that Nicolas has accepted to assume the re-established role of Chief Executive Officer of Richemont. His vision and…

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The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the Shanghai Diamond Exchange (SDE) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at promoting the natural diamond market in China.  This agreement follows meetings held during the WFDB Presidents’ Meeting in Shanghai in March, where WFDB leaders and Chinese government officials discussed initiatives to invigorate the Chinese diamond market Objectives of the MoU The MoU aims to enhance collaboration through joint events, marketing campaigns, and bilateral visits. The WFDB will open a representative office within the China Diamond Center, while the SDE will work on advancing the local diamond industry. WFDB…

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Anglo American, the UK-based mining giant, has outlined plans to divest significant parts of its business, including business De Beers and its platinum arm, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats).  This decision follows the rejection of a £34 billion takeover bid from BHP and aims to streamline the company’s operations to focus on core assets such as copper, iron ore, and crop nutrients. Comprehensive Breakdown of the Divestiture Plan The restructuring plan includes the divestiture of De Beers and Amplats, alongside Anglo American’s steelmaking coal assets. These sales are part of a broader strategy to concentrate on commodities with strong growth prospects…

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The Kimberley Process (KP) Intersessional meeting has commenced in Dubai, UAE, gathering global representatives from the diamond industry, civil society, and governments to address critical issues in the diamond trade. Focus on Consensus and Action The UAE, operating under the theme “Year of Delivery,” aims to drive progress in the diamond trade’s regulation by overcoming political impasses and implementing concrete actions. This includes establishing a permanent secretariat in Botswana, completing the KP review and reform cycle, and advancing the digitalisation of the KP. Calls to Address Ongoing Conflicts The KP is facing renewed calls to act over the ongoing wars…

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De Beers’ Lightbox lab-grown jewelry brand has announced a reduction in the retail prices of its lab-grown diamonds by up to 40%.  This adjustment sees the cost of colorless DEF stones now set at $900 per carat, reduced from $1,500, IJ color stones have decreased in price from $800 to $500 per carat, and GH color stones are now priced at $600 per carat. This new pricing reflects reductions in manufacturing and wholesale costs and aligns with Lightbox’s competitive pricing strategy. Enhanced Verification Process In addition to adjusting prices, Lightbox is implementing an independent verification process for its diamonds through…

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Richemont has announced its acquisition of the Italian jeweller Vhernier S.p.A., adding the company to its substantial portfolio of luxury brands. The acquisition, encompassing a full 100% stake, aligns with Richemont’s strategy to enhance its luxury jewellery segment. Pending customary regulatory approvals, the transaction is not expected to have a material financial impact on Richemont’s consolidated net assets or operating results for the fiscal year ending 31 March 2025. Strategic Expansion in the Luxury Sector Richemont’s acquisition introduces Vhernier as the 29th brand within its portfolio, aligning it with other prestigious brands under the Jewellery Maisons business unit including Cartier,…

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The latest pricing information from Rappaport showed that April 2024 saw a downturn in the diamond market, influenced by seasonal trends and reduced demand from the US and China. Prices for diamonds with a clarity rating of Very Slightly Included (VS) and above declined, while those for Slightly Included (SI) categories saw minor increases, continuing a pattern seen since the year’s start. BHP’s Acquisition Moves and Impacts on De Beers Amidst these market fluctuations, BHP’s substantial $38.9 billion offer for Anglo American has sparked speculation regarding the future of De Beers. Anglo American’s potential sale of De Beers is underway,…

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The International Gemological Institute (IGI) has introduced a new grading report for round brilliant cut diamonds, the Light Performance Grading Report.  This report focuses on the optical performance of diamonds, providing detailed insights into their visual properties. Grading System and Metrics The IGI Light Performance grading system employs a methodology that assigns an overall Light Performance score to each diamond. This primary score is supplemented by additional metrics assessing Brightness, Fire, and Contrast. These parameters are essential for assessing how diamonds interact with light, which affects their visual appeal and potentially their market value. The system employs advanced ray-tracing software…

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Russian diamond giant Alrosa is set to sell its 41% stake in the Catoca diamond mine in Angola, a move driven by operational challenges and intensified by global sanctions.  Sanctions and Operational Challenges Alrosa’s position as a key stakeholder in the Catoca mine has become problematic due to sanctions and the reluctance of Western companies to engage with entities connected to Russian businesses. Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseyev detailed the issues and progress of the negotiations, “The Angolans believe that the presence of Alrosa as a key shareholder is preventing them from developing their business. In general, they have…

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The World Gold Council’s ‘Gold Demand Trends Q1 2024 report presents a complex landscape for gold demand. When including over-the-counter (OTC) transactions, total demand saw a year-on-year increase of 3% to 1,238 tonnes, bolstered by significant purchases by central banks and OTC investments. This was against a backdrop of a 5% drop in demand excluding OTC transactions, which fell to 1,102 tonnes due to continued outflows from exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Central Bank and OTC Influences Central banks significantly increased their gold holdings, with a net addition of 290 tonnes, although not all additions are currently shown in International Monetary Fund…

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Anglo American has turned down a significant $38.8 billion takeover proposal from mining rival BHP.  This decision marks a pivotal moment in the mining sector, reflecting both the strategic independence of Anglo American and broader industry implications. The offer from BHP was intended to merge two of the industry’s giants, with a particular focus on enhancing copper resources critical for future technologies. Nevertheless, Anglo American’s chairman, Stuart Chambers, responded to the offer by stating it was “opportunistic” and did not fully value the company’s potential for growth. This rejection suggests Anglo American’s confidence in its own growth prospects and strategic…

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Gemfields has announced its updated ‘G-Factor for Natural Resources’ figures as of 31 December 2023. The G-Factor is a metric initially introduced in July 2021, designed to enhance transparency in how natural resource wealth is distributed between companies and the governments of the countries where they operate and spans a variety of sectors, including mining, oil, gas, timber, and fishing. Details of the 2023 Update The recent update by Gemfields underscores the company’s ongoing effort to promote the G-Factor as a standard for transparency and accountability in natural resource management. The company continues to encourage governance bodies, industry peers, and…

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De Beers Group has officially announced the relocation of its Auctions business headquarters from Singapore to Gaborone, Botswana. This strategic decision aims to streamline operations and enhance the efficiency of its activities, marking another step in the company’s long-standing relationship with the Botswana diamond sector. Background and Business Rationale The move builds on the success of De Beers Global Sightholder Sales, which relocated from the United Kingdom to Botswana in 2013. The transition of the Auctions headquarters is expected to foster stronger partnerships, drive cost efficiencies, and contribute to the development of essential industry skills within Botswana. De Beers’ consolidation…

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Tim Schlick has taken the helm as Chief Executive Officer of Platinum Guild International (PGI), succeeding Huw Daniel who retired on April 4, 2024. Mr. Schlick’s tenure at PGI began in 2015, and he has since progressed through key positions including Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Background and Expertise Prior to his new role, Mr. Schlick was recognized for his strategic and marketing prowess, having consulted for over 30 Fortune 500 companies. His career also includes significant roles at DDB China Group, McCann Erickson, and Andersen Consulting. With a comprehensive background in both the European and Asian markets,…

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Buccellati has launched a retrospective exhibition titled “The Prince of Goldsmiths, Rediscovering the Classics” in Venice. Set in Oficine 800 on Giudecca Island from April 18 to June 18, 2024, the exhibition is crafted by Balich Wonder Studio with Alba Cappellieri overseeing the jewellery and silverware displays. It aims to highlight Buccellati’s historical development and craftsmanship since its inception in 1919. Andrea Buccellati, creative director and honorary president of the Maison, remarked: “The classics offer the pleasure of rediscovery, evoking timeless worlds of elegance, art and nature. “Reinterpreting them means reinterpreting millennial traditions and forms with an always up-to-date look.…

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Gold prices have reached an unprecedented peak this year, exceeding $2,400 per ounce, primarily driven by sustained demand from China. As the world’s largest producer and consumer of gold, China’s impact on the market is significant. This increase in demand has been influenced by recent geopolitical tensions and broader economic uncertainties, which have bolstered the perception of gold as a secure investment. China’s Increasing Influence on Global Gold Consumption China has recently surpassed India as the world’s leading gold consumer, experiencing significant growth in the demand for jewellery, bars, and coins. Gold jewellery demand in China increased by 10%, and…

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March saw a significant decrease in Swiss watch exports, which fell by 16% to CHF 2 billion ($2.2 billion), according to data from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.  This downturn is attributed primarily to a reduced demand in key Asian markets, particularly China and Hong Kong. Export Analysis Breakdown Decline in Asia China and Hong Kong experienced pronounced declines, with exports to China dropping 42% to CHF 150.2 million ($165.2 million), and Hong Kong by 44% to CHF 148.1 million ($162.9 million). These reductions have brought exports to levels lower than those observed at the peak of the…

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A group of 11 organisations within the gold and jewellery sector has issued an open letter requesting more precise definitions of “recycled” gold. This initiative, aimed at regulatory bodies such as the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), and the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), seeks to prevent potential greenwashing by aligning the term with actual sustainability efforts. Concerns Over Definitions The letter points out the current ambiguity surrounding the term “recycled” gold, which can be exploited in marketing and potentially confuse consumers. Organisations such as the Alliance for Responsible Mining,…

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Petra Diamonds latest tender report shows varied performance for rough diamond prices, with notable challenges for smaller goods.  The report outlines the financial and operational outcomes from their fifth trading session of the fiscal year, which took place in April, offering insights into current industry trends. Tender Performance and Financial Highlights The April tender generated $49 million from the sale of 362,132 carats. This included the sale of a 14.76-carat blue diamond from the Cullinan mine in South Africa, which contributed $8.2 million. The session observed a modest decrease in like-for-like prices of 1% compared to the previous session in…

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In a recent unanimous decision at the U.N. General Assembly, member nations reaffirmed their commitment to the Kimberley Process. This resolution underscores the international community’s ongoing effort to ensure that diamond trade supports sustainable development rather than contributing to armed conflict. While the Kimberley Process has been successful in many respects, it faces unprecedented challenges due to geopolitical tensions and evolving conflict dynamics. The recent General Assembly highlighted the need for continuous support and adaptation of the process, ensuring it remains effective in a changing global landscape. Calls for Reform and Modernisation Significant discussions around reforming the Kimberley Process focus…

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In a recent development that has stirred conversations across the jewellery industry, Skydiamond, a British diamond manufacturer known for its lab-grown diamonds, has found itself in regulatory hot water. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that the company’s advertising campaigns have misled consumers by failing to clearly communicate that its diamonds are lab-grown. This decision comes following complaints from the Natural Diamond Council, leading to an in-depth investigation into Skydiamond’s marketing practices. ASA’s Findings and Implications The crux of the ASA’s decision lies in Skydiamond’s use of terms like “diamonds”, “diamonds made entirely from the sky”, and “real diamonds”…

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Botswana Diamonds plc, recently announced plans to integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) into its operations. The firm intends to apply AI techniques to its extensive exploration database in Botswana, aiming to enhance the search for new diamond deposits and possibly other minerals. Extensive Data Resources Botswana Diamonds holds the second largest diamond exploration database in the country, encompassing approximately 95,000 square kilometres of data. This database includes about 375,000 kilometres of airborne geophysical data, 606 ground geophysical surveys, around 228,000 soil sample results, and roughly 32,000 drill hole logs. In total, the database comprises 380 gigabytes of data and 260,000 files.…

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In a pioneering move, the Kenyan government is nearing the completion of a comprehensive operational framework aimed at integrating artisanal mining activities within national parks. Spearheaded by the State Department for Mining, this initiative seeks to reconcile the long-standing conflict between environmental conservation and economic development through the exploration and exploitation of minerals in protected areas. Collaborative Effort for Sustainable Mining The framework’s development follows a presidential directive, advocating for a balanced approach that permits artisanal miners to access rich mineral reserves within Kenya’s national parks while ensuring the protection of these vital ecosystems. Principal Secretary Elijah Mwangi announced that…

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The Watch & Jewellery Initiative 2030 (WJI 2030) presented its second annual Stakeholder Report, “Report on Progress 2023 – 2024”, at Watches & Wonders on April 10, 2024. The presentation was led by Iris Van der Veken, Executive Director & Secretary General of WJI 2030 and featured insights from industry leaders about the significance of collective action up to the year 2030. Panel Discussion Overview The discussion panel included Cyrille Vigneron (President & CEO of Cartier SA), Dr. Anino Emuwa (Founder of 100 Women @ Davos), Frédéric Grangié (CEO of Chanel Watches & Jewellery), and Dr. Daniel Klier (Advisor to…

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A recent report by Watchfinder & Co. presents compelling data on Gen Z’s engagement with the luxury watch market, painting a picture of a generation with a burgeoning interest in luxury watches. This analysis, rooted in a survey of over 2,400 individuals aged 18 to 26 in the U.S., sheds light on the preferences, spending habits, and digital influences shaping Gen Z’s luxury watch purchases. Elevated Spending Projections Gen Z individuals are prepared to allocate an average of $10,870 for their next luxury watch, surpassing the spending averages of millennials ($5,325), Generation X ($5,423), and baby boomers ($2,632). This indicates…

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Informa Markets Jewellery has announced the judging panel for the 2024 Sustainability Awards by the Jewellery World Awards (JWA), aiming to highlight notable sustainability practices within the jewellery, gemstone, and related industries over the past three years. The panel consists of a diverse group of experts known for their contributions and leadership both within and outside the jewellery sector. The Panel The 2024 Sustainability Awards panel features: John Mulligan, Director of Market Relations & Climate Change Lead at the World Gold Council Nirupa Bhatt, renowned gem and jewellery industry expert and Business Leadership Coach Hayley A. Henning, a strategist in…

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The recent imposition of sanctions by the G7 on the global diamond trade has sparked significant concern among African diamond producers. The sanctions, which necessitate routing all European Union (EU)-destined diamonds through a single entry point in Antwerp, have been criticized by key African stakeholders for their potential to disrupt the industry’s logistics and equality in international trade relations. African Producers’ Stance Lefoko Moagi, Botswana’s Minister of Mineral Resources, voiced his concerns during a meeting with the African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA) in Zimbabwe. Representing 19 countries, including major diamond-producing nations like Botswana, Angola, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of…

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In a recent event at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks & Minerals in Hillsboro, Oregon, a 703-carat tanzanite carving, named L’Heure Bleu by artist Naomi Sarna, has been officially recognised as the world’s largest cut tanzanite by GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ on March 9. Record-Breaking Achievement The declaration of the world record was witnessed by a large crowd, including gemstone experts Jessie English from J.S. English Appraisals and Madeline Saunders of Oregon Estate Jewelry, who served as the official witnesses. Michael Empric, a Guinness World Records adjudicator, verified and announced the achievement. The event was also attended by Gail Spann,…

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Alrosa has announced a significant change in its sales approach for the year 2024 – it has  committed to selling its entire diamond production for the year directly to the Russian government, a move that deviates markedly from its previous sales strategies.  This decision comes amidst escalating sanctions pressure, with the G7, which accounts for 70% of the diamond market, tightening its restrictions on Russian diamonds. Government Procurement of Diamond Production The Finance Ministry’s Gokhran, Russia’s repository for precious metals and stones, acquired Alrosa’s entire diamond output for March 2024 and plans to maintain this purchasing pattern throughout the year.…

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